2006 army Times
Honorable Mentions

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Randy Kirgiss

Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Campbell

No matter where he's deployed, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Randy Kirgiss has always tried to do something for children.

When Kirgiss, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, deployed to Iraq in early 2005, he picked up on a friend's idea and initiated Operation Teddy Drop.

By the end of their tour, Kirgiss and his fellow aviators had dropped more than 22,300 stuffed animals from their aircraft to Iraqi children. They also fashioned parachutes for each toy so the gifts would float to the ground.

Operation Teddy Drop was a morale booster, Kirgiss said, and it was nice to see the children's reaction upon receiving the stuffed toys.

During their yearlong tour, Kirgiss and his fellow soldiers flew 20,000 combat hours with no recordable accidents.

Sergeant Moises Martinez

4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis

Sgt. Moises Martinez doesn't expect anything in return for saving a stranger's life.

Martinez was in the Tacoma Mall in Washington state on Nov. 20, 2005, when a gunman opened fire. The Iraq veteran shielded two young children and whisked them and another child to safety, then returned to the mall and found a shopper who had been shot five times.

Even though the shooter was in the store next door, Martinez treated the man's wounds and kept him from going into shock.

He stayed with the man for about 90 minutes and made a litter from a folding table before police and paramedics arrived.

"The only thing you want to do is give the guy some kind of hope and reassure him that everything's going to be OK," Martinez said.